The Canisius baseball team extended its winning streak to seven games by sweeping a doubleheader from Manhattan College at the Demske Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Griffins walked off with a 4-3 win in the opener and cruised to a 10-0 victory in the second game to improve to 17-7 overall and 5-0 in the MAAC.
Game One – Canisius 4, Manhattan 3
Canisius put together its first rally in the bottom of the fourth as senior Ryan Coppinger beat out an infield single, and senior Jimmy Luppens went the other way and placed a double in right field to get two runners in scoring position with no outs. Junior Connor Panas singled past a drawn-in infield to score both runners and give the Griffs the 2-0 lead. Canisius would force Manhattan starter Chris Rocchietti to throw 25 pitches in the fourth inning after 29 pitches in the first three innings.
Junior Rohn Pierce retired the first 12 batters he faced before Manhattan used two doubles in the fifth to cut the Canisius lead to 2-1. The Griffs got the run right back in the bottom of the inning as sophomore Anthony Massicci reached on a one-out single, moved to second on a groundout from Coppinger and scored on a two-out hit from Luppens to push the lead back to two runs.
The Griffs continued to attack in the sixth as Panas led off with a double down the first-base line. Sophomore Brett Siddall followed with a single through the hole on the right side to put runners at the corners with no outs. Senior Jesse Kelso sent a fly ball to center, which was caught by Chris Kalousdian. The center fielder fired home and the throw just beat Panas for the second out of the inning and effectively ended the Griffs’ rally.
Manhattan tied the game in the seventh, using a leadoff single from Andrew Gorecki into the hole on the right side. Massicci made the diving play but his throw went wide of the bag and allowed Gorecki to get all the way to third base. RBI singles from Christian Santisteban and Jason Patnick evened the score at 3-3.
Massicci reached on a one-out walk in the ninth, getting on base for the fourth time in the game. Coppinger went the other way with an 0-2 pitch that hit off the third baseman’s glove and caromed down the left-field line to put runners at second and third with one out. An intentional walk to Luppens loaded the bases. Puscheck fisted the 2-2 pitch through the right side to give the Griffs their fourth last at-bat win of the season.
Pierce (5-1) threw his second complete game of the season, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits, walking one and striking out two.
Massicci was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a walk while Coppinger, Luppens and Panas each had two hits in the game.
Game Two — Canisius 10, Manhattan 0
Canisius chased Manhattan starter Joe Jacques in the second inning when the Griffs scored six runs and sent 11 batters to the plate. Senior Shane Zimmer led off with a double, Panas followed with a walk and Siddall singled up the middle to load the bases with no outs. Junior Mike Krische singled through the left side to score two runs. Siddall took third base on the throw home, with the throw from the catcher attempting to throw out Siddall going over the third baseman’s head and rolling all the way down the left-field line. Siddall scored easily, and Krische came all the way around the bases to make it 4-0. The Griffs added runs later in the inning on an RBI single from Puscheck and RBI groundout from Zimmer. In the fifth, the Griffs scored four more runs, taking advantage of four walks and two HBP to build a 10-0 lead.
That would be more than enough support for sophomore Alex Godzak (4-2) as the lefty threw his first career shutout. Godzak allowed just three hits and walked two while striking out four. He only allowed one runner to reach third base and retired 16 of the final 19 batters.
Canisius spread out the nine hits over eight players, with Zimmer going 2-for-3. Massicci worked three more walks while senior Ronnie Bernick, Luppens and Panas each reached base three times with a hit, walk and HBP.
Canisius and Manhattan close out the series on Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for noon.
Notes: Canisius last started MAAC play 5-0 in 2010, when the Griffs won their last five eight conference games… The walk-off win for the Griffs was their 14th at the Demske since 2007… Massicci has reached base in 12 of his 14 plate appearances this week… The five-game winning streak for the Griffs over the Jaspers matches the longest for Canisius in series history… Canisius stole five bases in the opener and has 14 stolen bases in the last five games… Puscheck extended his on-base streak to 27 games… Luppens and Panas each extended their hitting streak to eight games.